There is no doubt that first impressions count in business. Even in our highly digitised world, people still want to do business with people who they like. So, whether you are meeting a new client for the first time or potentially getting a new business partner, it is important that you take steps to give off the right impression. Of course, everyone is different, but there are a few general rules which can help you out. Here are just a few of them.
Before going to that meeting, it is worth thinking about what you think makes a good first impression. Do you want people to smile often? Should they be good listeners? Do they need to have a professional appearance? Once you know what you personally think constitutes a good first impression, you can then apply this to yourself. Practice with people who you already know so that they can critique your performance and offer improvements as necessary.
Since you are trying to leave a lasting impression in the other person’s mind, it makes sense that you also give them something physical which they can take away with them. The most classic of these is a business card. Make sure that it is professionally designed and lists all your contact information clearly. Check out physicaladdress.com if you are looking for a virtual address. But you could also bring along some marketing materials so that they have something to read when they return to their office.
You need to be prepared before you first walk through the door of the meeting. Who are you meeting and what can you find out about them? Do you need to give a presentation? Have you got all the facts and figures that you want to give across clearly in your mind? Of course, you can never schedule exactly how a meeting is going to go, but you can be prepared for as many eventualities as possible.
Since you are trying to get the other person to like you, it makes sense that you don’t always talk business the whole time - you also need to connect with them on a more personal level as well. Try to find some common ground and make sure to listen. As a general rule of thumb, people like to talk about themselves and you should give them the opportunity to do this.
The final point is quite difficult to quantify in some ways, but if you are able to exceed the expectations of the client, you are much more likely to build up the long-term business relationship that you are looking for. If it looks like you have made an effort and you really care about the meeting, you are much more likely to get this final point right.